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Reseña de álbum

Conductor Simon Rattle's recording of Porgy & Bess with the London Philharmonic, the Glyndebourne Chorus, and soloists including Willard White (Porgy), Cynthia Haymon (Bess), and Damon Evans (Sporting Life) is the best full-length, classically oriented version of George Gershwin's "American Folk Opera" yet put on disc. The work has seen many partial treatments, and recordings have been skewed to more of a theater music or jazz interpretation. The only other version that compares with this one is Lorin Maazel and the Cleveland Orchestra's 1975 recording, also a three-hour, three-disc set. That one palls before this album, however. The main reason may be that, although Rattle's is technically a studio cast recording, he is using singers accustomed to playing the parts on-stage, and they bring their portrayals into the recording studio. White (who was also Maazel's Porgy and by far the best thing about that recording), made his European debut as Porgy at the Camden Festival, London, while Haymon and Evans have both appeared in productions of Porgy & Bess at Gyndebourne, Evans as recently as 1986. So, this recording has the quality of a cast recording from an all-star opera production that never was. The performers sound believable in their roles, not just as if they are singing the slangy lyrics as precisely as possible. The London Philharmonic under Rattle is up to the dramatic challenge, giving the music unusual force. The only real objection to the recording is that, like many opera albums, it seems to have been intended to give the listener a sense of the sound on a stage, with some singers seemingly a considerable distance from the microphones. As such, some fiddling with the volume control may be necessary. But that's a small price to pay for such a powerful interpretation of a work that is by now well established in the opera repertory.

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Porgy and Bess Selection, Simon Gale
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